The Nalanda Open University is the only University in the State of Bihar meant for imparting learning exclusively through the system of distance education. The University was established in March, 1987 by an ordinance, promulgated by the Government of Bihar. Later, Nalanda Open University Act, 1995 was passes by the Bihar Legislature, replacing the Ordinance, and the University came under the authority and jurisdiction of the new Act automatically. The University is named after the famous Nalanda University of Ancient India. At present, the University is functioning from its camp office at Biscomaun Bhawan, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 12th Floors, Patna 800 001. The University has established at its camp office at Patna a well equipped and fully automated modern office in an area of approximately 60,000 sq. feet, which houses an examination centre for about 1000 students, a state of the art Library with about 50,000 titles and a computer laboratory of about 300 IBM Pentium-4 computers, apart from administrative offices and other infra-structures. The University is recognised by the Distance Education Council (DEC), University Grants Commission, and Ministry of HRD, Government of India for imparting education through distance mode.
- To Provide educational opportunities to those who are unable to take up formal education and are still desirous to upgrade their educational qualifications and acquire knowledge in various fields of learning through the print medium (correspondence course), contact programmes, study centres and mass media.
- To provide flexibility in matters of eligibility for enrolment for higher education, age of entry, choice of course, methods of learning, conduct of examination and operation of programmes.
- To offer degree and diploma courses and to make provision for research for advancement and dissimination of knowledge.
- To provide special facilities to groups like, elderly people, in-service personnel, housewives, people living in remote areas, socially disadvantaged people of the society and all others who wish to upgrade their skill and acquire higher academic qualification through distance education.
- To lay emphasis on vocational, as well as, conventional courses, leading to award of degrees and certificates.
- To create awareness for self-sufficiency and equip people with knowledge and higher qualification to enable them to become suitable for new job opportunities.
- To provide course for rural, agricultural, industrial and commercial needs of people and design learning material for improving socio-economic condition of the masses.
- To bring awareness in women, children and down-trodden of their social rights, duties and legal status in society.